Umoja means unity in Swahili, the perfect word to describe the close-knit Umoja
Club. Umoja is Goucher’s Black Student Union, a large group of about 140 members of all races, ethnicities and ideologies.
“Umoja is not an exclusive club but we do focus on the empowerment of African American students who may find attending a predominantly Caucasian institution to be challenging,” says club secretary Keyona McNeil.
Each Thursday, the club begins their meetings with “highs and lows.”
“[It is an] icebreaker just to allow the members to let out any frustrations so that we can uplift them and also praise them for positive things that may have occurred throughout the week,” says McNeil. After this, the floor opens up for talk about current events, discussions for upcoming events, and other announcements.
Umoja is a unique club. While they have their own events on campus, oftentimes the club will work together with other on-campus clubs to plan an activity or an event. Umoja enjoys working with other clubs to make sure “that our events are not only beneficial to our members but that they are beneficial to the entire Goucher Community as a well,” says McNeil.
McNeil became involved with Umoja as a freshman. She would receive the emails from the club, but adds that she wanted “to see so much more for the club and execute those plans.” This is why she decided to run for secretary position during her sophomore year.
During the spring semester, Umoja will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., African American Heritage Month, and the campus-famous spring fashion show. For anyone who may be interested in joining the club, McNeil says “Come on into the Geen room and join us for an uplifting discussion that may bring memories, tears, laughter, and a burst of other emotions but overall it will bring love.”
Umoja lives up to its name–there is a real sense of unity within this club.
Umoja Club meets every Thursday from 9:30-10:30 p.m. in the Geen Room in Mary Fisher Hall.